Don't go to empty wells! Walk away from the wells that are always dry!
When I went No Contact, I ended a friendship from college some months later. No Contact can re-order everything. The treatment you refuse from your familial narcissists, you start refusing from others!
This was not my close two friends from college but a third one, I haven't mentioned here yet. We had kept contact on and off with over the years. If anyone was more apathetic about being my friend, it was this woman. How was I so blind? It hit me, this was a toxic friendship I had continued due to the family training. The only time I heard from this friend from college is when she wanted medical advice, and her main emotion would be annoyance when I popped up back up. She was always "too busy". This was true in college too and even during the year we were roommates. Now I know in the world people have careers, and children and really are busy, but this was not someone I was bothering all the time. We lived long distance from one another. If you came to someone and every time you tried to get a small measure of time, they seemed bothered, that should be a red flag, but in my ACON fog, this was normal to me. My narcissistic parents had taught me to grovel for every drop of attention to be metered out with resentment.
Our last interaction, she told me she was "too busy" to respond to a letter that had "too many words". What an odd thing to say to someone. At that point, my decision to be "done", was firm and I told her, "I am done, this friendship is over." Ending friendships is rare for me but in this case, there was no other decision to be made. This friendship had a strange push and pull quality. I would even ask her, "Do you still want to be friends even?" and she would say "Yes", however it took me going no contact to realize what a rotten friend she was, and that I had put up with poor treatment and rejection from her for too many years.
She wanted me around at her whim, and not any other time. One realization I had about her, is she had no friends left. She complained to me some months before I ended the friendship, that she had no friends left. I said to her, "You actually have to send a card or pay attention to your friends, or show or tell them that you care or people will move on."
I was thinking about this topic when writing a comment to another poster, how some of us ACONs are literally set up to beg for the affections of the uninterested. We spent years as children pleading with cold parents to pay attention to us, to listen to us, to recognize we are alive and we take this out into the world! We think begging to be loved is normal.
Well it's not --no matter what the love songs tell us like "Ain't Too Proud to Beg"!
One thing us ACONs need to ask ourselves to heal is "What is love?"
What does it mean to be loved?
I have friends who love me and I love them. I love my husband. This love has kept me in for the long haul despite the very bad money problems that would have crater bombed many other relationships.
What does love feel like? Love means care, thinking of another person, desiring the best for them, wondering how they are, and being concerned for them. Love means growth and goodness. Love is a bright light in a world of darkness. Love is that special spark between you and another person, a connection that crosses all boundaries. Love feels good. Love means being listened to, and being seen! While all people may argue or disagree from time to time, being loved feels good. Love is of God. [1 John 4:8]
Love doesn't hurt. Love doesn't mean constant rejection. Love doesn't mean having a door slammed shut in your face over and over. Love doesn't mean being ignored when severely ill.
One hard thing to face being an ACON who desires recovery is facing the fact they were not loved by people who were supposed to love them. People don't treat people like dirt who they love. Abuse and smear campaigns are not love. When I went no contact from a great multitude of my family with my mother and sister at the top of the list, I had to face facts, I was not loved by them. It was the truth. They despised me. With honesty comes acceptance. I had to admit it.
As a child my mother shoved me away and disinvited me from whatever she could get away with. She did not love me. My father did not love me either.
The world will tell everyone in one of it's myths that all parents love their children. This is simply not true. Aunt Confused, would state over and over to me, "Your mother loves you!" Facing the reality of this can be hard. When you face that wall of "I WAS NOT LOVED". I didn't want to face this. For years as an adult, I pushed my bad suspicions underground and didn't want to deal with it and suppressed the pain. The bad treatment continued and I made too many excuses. I worked HARD for 20 plus years on BAD relationships. All the energy went one way outside of some show-off presents. All the trying to 'work' things out. All the wanting to please. All the wishing they would notice I was alive, or talk things out. I was literally begging in letters which in their narcissistic minds only created more disgust for me.
Yes sadly I begged and begged some more. Everyone wants love. No one wants to be alone. I had this idea of a loving family. I thought I could solve problems in the relationships being clueless and with the scapegoat training thinking I was the problem and not them. As they grew colder, I grew more desperate.
When I became a Christian, I even "forgave" for the childhood abuses wanting a new slate. Thinking if I was a kind enough daughter and nice to my relatives they would love me and want me around, despite personality differences, despite being so overweight. How sad.
For years this kind of thing expanded out to the rest of my life. People pleasing ruled my world. There was too much begging to people who didn't really want me around. The Aspergers, fat rejection and hearing impairment tripled things up on me. I came across as too needy. There was too much putting up with crap from very toxic people. There was taking way too much abuse while blaming myself the whole time. There was way too much expended and wasted energy wanting to be liked, loved and cared about.
It takes two to tango and if one party is uninterested, it's not happening. You can't control other people and to do so is unhealthy. Let them be. In my ACON mind, the fantasies of cruel people suddenly turning into loving angels, never seemed to stop. I kept thinking too if I only write the "right" letter, if only I fixed what was "wrong", or said the exact "right" thing that I could change things. Even during my no contact, I had thoughts about writing her a letter, that would "wake her up!". I refused those temptations. It was not going to happen. This was desperation born of early childhood rejection. A inner loneliness and fear of being cast out forever, that seemed to cut deep into my soul which kept me begging on my knees before these people for far too many years.
I'm finally getting a clue. I sent a nephew a card. He is 16 and now old enough to make decisions about who to talk to or not. I decided this is going to be the last card if I do not hear from him. I provided my email and address. No more begging. I made the offer, and the ball is now in his court. Sadly here the smear campaigns took their toll I am sure.
I saw going no contact as no more banging my head on the brick walls. I also knew that I never was going to be what they wanted me to be and now I know in my heart they will never be the people I desired for a family. My years of thinking, "I disappointed them" and crying that I was not a good enough daughter or sister or niece, has now transformed into, "They disappointed me". This is more of the tables-turning and me waking up to what happened. It wasn't my fault. I didn't control it and I didn't choose it.
We hurt ourselves when we go to empty wells. We hurt ourselves when we go begging for love or attention that should come naturally and spontaneous. We hurt ourselves trying to expend energy on relationships that have a dead end. Family or not, no one deserves to be treated this way. No longer wasting time trying to draw water up out of a dry well, we allow ourselves space to have people in our lives who truly do love us and want us around. Who open the door instead of close it. ACONs have a lot to work through but being able to realize those loving relationships are out there is part of the healing process. We don't have to beg to be loved. We aren't loved when we have to beg.